Geely’s Volvo Cars has formally opened a new battery assembly line at its Belgian factory in Ghent where it will start building its first full electric car, the XC40 Recharge P8, later this year.

in the next five years, the automaker will launch a battery electric car every year, as it targets BEVs accounting for half of its sales by 2025 with the rest hybrids.

Recharge is the new sub-brand name for all ‘chargeable’ models which are either full electric or plug-in hybrid, with petrol or diesel engines.

Volvo Cars production chief Geert Bruyneel said: “As the first of our plants to get a battery assembly line, Ghent plays a pioneering role as we continue to prepare our manufacturing network for electrification.”

Ghent plant will serve as a ‘mother’ facility to other factories for battery pack assembly process optimisation and efficiency.

Volvo earlier announced planned construction of a battery line at its US plant outside Charleston, South Carolina. Construction is expected to start in autumn 2020.

The company will also build battery electric vehicles at a Volvo-operated manufacturing plant in Luqiao, China, where its cars based on the CMA platform are built alongside models with similar underpinnings from sister brands Polestar and Lynk & Co.

Last year, the automaker signed long term supply agreements with CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea. The agreements cover the supply of batteries over the coming decade.

Ghent is one of two car manufacturing plants operated by Volvo Cars in Europe and has produced cars since 1965. It employs around 6,500 people.

The XC40 Recharge P8 is the first of a family of fully electric models.

It will have a new infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Like the rest of the XC40 SUV line, now with petrol, diesel and petrol PHEV drivetrains, the BEV version is based on the CMA modular vehicle architecture co-developed within the parent Geely Group.